Compliance of Zambian law with the Paris Convention, the TRIPS Agreement and the Harare Protocol.
On June 6, 2016, a new design law was introduced to Zambian intellectual property law , thus repealing the Registered Design Law of 1958.
The major contribution of this law resides in the possibility to enjoy protection afforded by design law once the said design has been registered. Under the Law of 1958 , the registration of a design only gives the registered proprietor the copyright (Article 14 of Registered Designs Law of 1958).
The notable features of the law of 2016 are as follows:
Amendments to the criteria for protection
The law now provides for the principle of “absolute novelty”, thereby modifying the criterion of novelty.
In addition to the traditional criterion of novelty, the 2016 law introduces the requirement of the design’s individual character into Zambian law.
The individual nature of a design will be recognised where “the overall impression it produces on an informed user differs from the overall impression produced on an informed user by any earlier design differs from the overall impression produced on such a user by any earlier design, which has been made available to the public before the release date of such a design” (Article 18 of the Industrial Designs Act of 2016).
Introduction of an opposition period
It is now possible for a third party, including the State, to oppose the registration of a design within a period of two months from the date an application is published (Article 43).
Duration of protection
The duration of the protection of a design has been modified. It is no longer possible to renew the registration of a design for more than two consecutive periods of 5 years, but only for one, thus bringing the total duration of the protection of a design to 10 years rather than the initial period of 15 years.
Licencing contracts must be registered with the Registrar. The Registrar can refuse the registration of a licence if it imposes unjustified restrictions on the licensee. Furthermore, the licence contract shall not have effect against third parties until it is registered and a certificate of registration is issued in respect thereof (Article 78).
Creation of designs by employees
A whole section devoted to designs by employees has been introduced by the new law.
In principle, the designs created by employees during the course of their employment contract belong to the employer. However, where the design acquires an economic value much greater than that the parties could reasonably have foreseen at the time of concluding the contract, the employee shall be entitled to an equitable remuneration to be agreed upon by the parties or in default, to be determined by the court (Article 45).